October 24, 2021
You are called to help liberate humanity from evil, and transform it in holiness. How do you, as a baptized Christian, share in the priesthood of Jesus, our great High Priest?
- Jesus, the Good Shepherd and great High Priest, calls His Church to participate in His priesthood through the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of all baptized men and women.
- Jesus is calling us to this priesthood even though we are sinners. We are chosen, though sinners, to be serving sinners to help save souls.
- It is God’s calling and God’s action that we become priest through His appointment, consecration, anointing in baptism and confirmation. It is not just our decision.
- Our role is to be a mediator between God and men and to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins for the salvation of souls.
- At offertory Mass, we are called to exercise our priesthood by bringing all that is painful, hard, all the ways Satan is trying to crush and destroy us, along with our daily prayers, daily labors and apostolic endeavors and offer it to God with Jesus.
Jesus is the Great High Priest, the perfect high priest, but He calls His Church to participate in His priesthood to share in His priestly mission.
One way is the ministerial priesthood, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and which has three different degrees bishops, priests, and deacons. But we are called to another priesthood, the common priesthood of all the faithful, the royal priesthood, for all the Baptized men and women, young and old, all of us who are Baptized, have been called to this priesthood. Jesus calls us, even though we are sinners, we have received His mercy.
You are called to bring to the Offertory at Mass, all your prayers, your apostolic endeavors, your ordinary married and family life, with its ups and downs, your daily labor, your mental and physical relaxation, if carried out in the Holy Spirit. All that is done in the Holy Spirit can be offered to the Lord, and especially the hardships, the sacrifices, the pains, the humiliations.
“Jesus is calling you.” That’s what Bartimaeus hears in the gospel today. And it’s been said to you, also Jesus is calling you, on this World Mission Sunday. And what is our mission? It’s part of the most important mission, but extremely hardest task of all, which is the salvation of souls, to liberate humanity from the oppression of sin and evil, lead it to God. Bring it to the glory of heaven. So, it’s the whole transformation of our world, corrupted by sin, to be transformed by God’s love and holiness. So that’s this extreme task, that you also are part of, you have your role in. And remember, God is very, I said, a lot, practical. He’s not just getting us here on Sunday for us to have a couple of nice little thoughts and do some nice little things. He has this extremely urgent task that needs to be accomplished, the salvation of souls. And then, of course, the leader in that is Jesus Himself. And so, it’s interesting to see what role that Jesus has. He came into this world for this task of saving humanity and His public ministry. What did He start doing? What role did He take on? People saw Him as a prophet, a messenger of God. The Gospel says that we have a great prophet who has appeared among us. So, they saw Him as a prophet, but they want Him to be something more than a prophet. A lot of them want Him to be what they want Him to be, a king, their king. And Jesus said that He is a king, but not the type of King they’re expecting. He is, He is the Good Shepherd, who will lead His flock by dying for them. But there was something that they didn’t see Jesus as, they did not see Jesus as a priest. He wasn’t from the clan, or from the tribe of Levi, He wasn’t a descendant of Levi, like Aaron was, because their priests were all from the tribe of Levi. Jesus wasn’t officiating in a temple of Jerusalem. So, they didn’t see Him as a priest. And so, it’s very surprising in the second reading we had today, how this emphasis over and over again, that Jesus is a priest. He is not just a prophet, He’s not just the king. He’s a preacher, He’s not just a priest, He is the great high priest. But He’s a different type of priest, not of the Levitical priesthood from Levi, but that’s what we had that mysterious phrase today, from the order of Melchizedek. Well, we have no idea what that does is surprising to us. But it’s a different type of priesthood. And the letter to the Hebrews says, He is a priesthood who offered not lambs, or bulls, but the sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice of Himself. And that’s striking, because in our society today, as far as society thinks of important essential roles, and the most important task of our society, I don’t know if priesthood would be among them. Because the priesthood has been so diminished, and so corrupted in our time and yet Jesus, in this great mission He has to accomplish, He accomplishes it as a priest. And so, what does that have to do with you and this mission Sunday? It has a lot to do, because Jesus is the great high priest, the perfect high priest, but He calls His Church to participate in His priesthood to share in His priestly mission in two different ways. One is the ministerial priesthood, through the Sacrament of Orders, Holy Orders, and which has three different degrees bishops, priests and deacons. But there’s another way, another priesthood besides the ministerial priesthood, which is called the common priesthood of all the faithful, it’s also called the royal priesthood. And this is for all the Baptized men and women, young and old, all of us who are Baptized, have been called to this priesthood. And this is the most important priesthood, the ministerial priesthood is for the priesthood of the faithful.
Way back in Exodus, as God was leading His people out of Israel, He said to His people, “now therefore, if you will obey My voice, and keep My covenant, you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine, and you shall be,“ listen to what He says, “You shall be, to Me, a kingdom of priests, a kingdom of priests. He’s saying to the people of Israel, and the holy nation, that is, He has chosen them from all the other peoples, because He wants to make them a kingdom of priests, who will be serving all the other nations, help leading all the other nations to God, helping transform all the other nations. And the Church believes that it has been called to be the new Israel, the New Kingdom of God, the New Kingdom of priests. So, the Book of Revelations, you know, the very final book of the Bible says, speaking about Jesus as to Him who loves us, and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us a kingdom, Priest, to God, our Father, has made us a kingdom and priests, to His God and Father. And a little bit later, that same book of Revelations says, when John has his great visions of Jesus as the Lamb of God, he hears this song of praise in heaven, saying, “for you were slain, and by your blood, you ransomed men, for God from every tribe, and tongue, and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priest, to our God, and they shall reign on the earth,” made of them a kingdom and priest. So, Jesus makes of His people, a kingdom of priests. And then St. Peter says, “Come to Jesus to that living stone, rejected by men, but in God’s sight, chosen and precious, and like living stones.” So, like we have all these stones, right? In our Chapel, you can see the stone so that’s a little image, “like living stones, be yourselves build into a spiritual house and to” listen to what St. Peter says, “to be a holy priesthood,” to be a holy priesthood, and to do what? “To offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, you are a chosen race a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare that the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His own marvelous light. Once you were no people, but now you are God’s people, once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy,” you have received mercy and now you are called to be priests for God. So, it’s important that you know, that right? Because He’s calling you to do that. So, if you don’t know it, you can’t do it very well. So, the Catechism summarize, you know, this says, “Christ, high priest and unique mediator has made of the Church, a kingdom of priest, for His God and Father, the whole community of believers is priestly. The faithful exercise their Baptismal priesthood.” So, this is not the priests of which comes from Holy Orders. This is the common priesthood comes from Baptism, their Baptismal priesthood, to their participation, each according to his own vocation, and Christ’s mission as priest Prophet and King.” So, this is the priesthood of our Blessed Mother. This is the priesthood of St. Joseph. This the priesthood of all the faithful. So, looking at our reading today from Hebrews, I want to emphasize three key points. Who is called to this priesthood? It says, “for every high priest is chosen from among men, He can deal gently with the ignorant and the wayward since He Himself is beset with weakness. Because of this, He is bound to offer sacrifice for His own sins, as well as for those of the people.” So, we are called, we are sinners. Jesus is calling us even though we are sinners, He’s calling us to this priesthood, that is, the Christ is choosing those who will share His priesthood, not from perfect people, but from us who are sinners, sinners who have received His mercy. So, we are chosen, though we’re sinners, and to be serving sinners to help save souls. So, it’s not because we’re perfect that we’ve been chosen to be priests, but He’s chosen us even though we are sinners. And so how do you become a priest? In the letter to the Hebrews says, “For every high priest chosen from among men, one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God.” That is, it’s not a personal decision that does that. It’s a call from God, just as Aaron was. “So also, Christ did not exalt Himself to be made a high priest but was appointed by God.” And so, we don’t have this priesthood, just because we have chosen it. It is because God Himself has chosen you, and appointed you, and consecrated you, and anointed you in Baptism. And then with the further anointing and confirmation that you have become a priest, it’s not just your decision, it’s God’s calling and God’s action. And so, what is your role as a priest of Jesus? The letter to the Hebrew says, “Every high priest is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.” So, it’s to be a mediator between God and men to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. So how do we fulfill our mission as priests? So, the Letter to the Hebrews says, Jesus, as the great high priest says, “in the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers, and supplications, with loud cries and tears.” So, this was a very painful thing for Him. To Him who was able to save Him from death. And He was heard for His Godly fear. God saved Him from death not in the sense that He didn’t let Him die, but that He brought Him from the dead. Although He was Son, He learned obedience, through what He suffered, and being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation. So now He is the priest, the source of eternal salvation, to all who obey Him, being designated by God, a High Priest, according to the order of Melchizedek. So, this is why it’s so powerful, but because He is this great high priest was offered Himself, He is able to be the source of eternal salvation, for all who accept Him, for all who obey Him as high priest. So here we’re seeing how in this greatest of all tasks. This greatest of all missions, this greatest of all wars. That’s for the salvation of souls. How powerful, how indispensable, is the priesthood, the priesthood of Jesus, it’s the only thing that can bring about salvation. But He calls us to participate in His priesthood. That’s why those words we heard of St. Peter, he says, “He has called you to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” And St. Paul in his letter to the Roman says, “I appeal to you brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, (to present our bodies as a living sacrifice), holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” So, our bodies are part of our spiritual worship. And that’s what we’re called to right now. Right now, right now as we come to Mass. That is, because you’re here present at Mass, because your body is to be offered as a spiritual worship. And so, this priesthood, this mission is especially important today, as we’re living this critical time in this great mission of salvation, in which so much crisis, so much suffering right now in our time. And so, you have been called for this time to live your priestly mission right now in this critical time that we’re going through, that the Church, the world is going through. And so that’s why we’re here at Mass, at the Holy Eucharist. Pope St. John Paul wrote the documents, a special document for the laity called Christifideles Laici, and he says, they’re the lay faithful, so you all are sharers in the priestly mission for which Jesus offered Himself on the cross. So that was His perfect offering on the cross of His priestly mission. People expected to see the priest in a temple at Jerusalem. But Jesus is a different type of priest. And that’s where He is priest on the cross. That’s not what they expected to see, as a priest, but that’s where Jesus exercises His priesthood on the cross. And now, as the letter to the Hebrew says, He continues to exercise it now in heaven. And He continues to be offered. This is the Pope’s document that continues. “Jesus continues to be offered, in the celebration of the Eucharist.” So, what we’re living right now, the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ continues in this very sacrifice that we are offering right now in this Mass. It says, the Pope says, “offering it for the glory of God, and the salvation of humanity”. So, this is, as I said, the most urgent of all missions to save souls, to save humanity. And that’s what this Sacrament the sacrifice that we’re offering right now is about. And so, it’s Jesus’ sacrifice, but it’s also your sacrifice, your role. That’s why the Offertory at Mass is so important. The Offertory as a lot of churches where they take up a collection, we don’t do that here, but there’s something more important that we’re asking you to give than money. Obviously, we need money, and you have been very generous in supporting the mission. But there’s something more important than money. So, what are you called to bring to the Offertory? So, listen, this is this is what Catechism says. So, what you can offer right now in this Mass. So, it says, their work. So, your work, all the work you’ve done this week, “all your prayers, your apostolic endeavors, your ordinary married and family life, with its ups and downs, your daily labor, your mental and physical relaxation.” So even mental and physical, for instance, even sleeping, we can even offer sleep, if we’re doing it to be we need sleep, we need sleep to serve the Lord. So, we can even offer that to Him. And in other things we do maybe sports or whatever, when we can offer that also to the Lord. “Their mental and physical relaxation, if carried out in the Holy Spirit,” of course not all relaxation is carried out in the Holy Spirit, so going out and getting plastered is not carried out in the Holy Spirit. It’s a different spirit right not the Holy Spirit. But so, but all that is done in the Holy Spirit can be offered to the Lord. And especially the hardships, the sacrifices, the pains, the humiliations. Do you have any hardships in your life? I’m sure you could make a list of hardships you have physical hardships, interior hardship family, all sorts of hardships all of those If it says ”if patiently born, all of these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.” Remember what Jesus did, Jesus took something very evil and terrible, extremely painful. And by offering it to God, He made of a great evil, the greatest of evil, He changed it into a spiritual sacrifice, His cross. And so, all of that, that’s a way that you exercise at Mass, your priesthood, by bringing all of that, and especially what is hard, what is painful, you take what is painful, all the ways that satan is trying to crush us, to hurt us, to destroy us. Like, he was doing at the cross with Jesus Christ, you take all that, and you are offering it to God, with Jesus, that’s not easy to do, it’s very hard. Being a priest is very, very hard. But so, for me, you know, the way when a priest at the beginning at the Offertory, which will come in just a few moments, when the priest lifts up the host, on a patent, a little platter, when he lifts it up, that’s like, you can think of yourself as that host that is being offered up. And when he holds up the chalice, you can think of yourself also putting all that you’ve done, all even including, and especially all that’s been painful, you can put all of that in the chalice and all your prayer intensions. So, all of that can be offered, you know that there’s that moment, which is so, so discreet, you hardly notice that when, when the server brings the wine, and the priests pours the wine into the chalice, and then he takes a drop of water and puts out a drop of water, and that water represents your offering. So that just like that water is mixed in with the wine. And it’s now part of the wine that offering is that water, that drop of water represents your offering, which is now united to the offering of Jesus Christ. And those who have most hardship and sacrifice in their lives have the most that they can offer. And then what happens? Then the priest extends his hands over the offerings, and is calling down the Holy Spirit, to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. If you have placed spiritually, if you have placed your offering there it is your offerings, which you’re asking Lord, to transform from just human activities to part of the spiritual sacrifice of Jesus Christ, for the glory of God, and the salvation of souls. And then that’s what happened later when the priest holds up the Body and Blood of Jesus and he says, “through Him, with Him, in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. All glory and honor is Yours Almighty Father.” So, offering our sacrifice with the sacrifice of Jesus, for the glory of God, and adoration to God, and for the salvation of mankind. Think of that prayer,” Eternal Father, we offer you, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins.” Because each one of us is a sinner, “and for the sins of the whole world, for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” So, the Mass is this opportunity, special opportunity to get together to offer together our spiritual sacrifice. So, I like to say the Mass is not a spectator sport. You have a role to play. to exercise your priesthood at Mass. That’s what the Catechism says. And so, worshiping everywhere, so it’s especially at Mass, but it’s not just that Mass. Everywhere you are, you can be out fishing. And if you offer that in the Holy Spirit, that can be a way of offering that to the Lord. That of exercise in your preacher can be everything that we can offer to Him, and so worshiping everywhere by their holy actions. Listen to what the laity do, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives, everything that you offer to God in holiness, your consecrating to God, your family life if you’re out gardening, you can offer that into your consecrating that work in those plants to the Lord everything we’re involved in, if we live it in the Holy Spirit, you can offer that until you’re consecrating the whole world. So, it’s because the whole world is called to be transformed by the believers in Jesus. And so, like St. Joseph and his carpentry work, he consecrated that work those chairs, those benches and so forth to the Lord. And so, today, we are, in this World Mission Sunday, we are reminded of our mission to share the priesthood of Jesus Christ. So, I’m just going to end with this reading again, this passage from St. Peter. “Come to Jesus to that living stone, rejected by men, but in God’s sight, chosen and precious, like living stones, be yourselves built into a spiritual, higher house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God, through Jesus Christ. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were no people, but now you are God’s people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy,” Amen.